“Who are you?” sang The Who. It’s an age-old question. Identity today is at the forefront of conversations in both positive and negative ways. Identity is used to draw together communities with common interests and values. It’s a complex and culturally dependent philosophical construct. Identity is also used to group us in ways that are productive and less so. Our political identity is a quick heuristic for deciding if someone is like us or not.
The flipside of identity is anonymity, which has increasing value and scarcity in today’s data-driven digital world where we can be uniquely identified by our face, our fingerprints, our heartbeat, our breath and our gait.
As we move into more 3D virtual spaces, how will we craft and express our avatar identities, and how many will we craft?
Underlying this discussion is a central question: How do we as marketers and researchers use what we know of identity and to what extent? For this What the Future: Identity issue, we explore what forms a person’s identity, how it’s shaped and represented externally and how people want it used in products, marketing, media and as a credential.
Be sure to subscribe to the What the Future newsletter for new topics each month. And join us for our May 3 webinar as we explore these trends. Keep reading to learn from experts in Hollywood, demographics and the metaverse, what shapes and how we express identity today and into the future.
- Leesa Evans, costume designer and private stylist — How what you wear reveals your true identity
- Dante Chinni, founder of The American Communities Project — How where we live shapes who we are
- Sébastien Borget, co-founder and COO of The Sandbox — Will virtual spaces be safe places to express our identities?
- Timmu Tõke, CEO, founder, Ready Player Me — Will we have different identities in virtual spaces?
- Tracey Follows, author of “The Future of You” — Why multiple identities are closer than you think
- Katherine Pieper, Ph.D, Program director, USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative — How can entertainment better reflect all of us?
For full results, please refer to the annotated questionnaire.